Period properties come with many a challenge when renovating. One of the challenges can be a small bathroom to plan, configure and renovate to a standard that fits with the needs of your family. Here I share our renovation journey, my tips on how you can renovate a small bathroom and some of the tools that helped us to do so.
It’s been nearly a year since we revamped our postage stamp sized bathroom, and I can’t believe how fast time has gone. It has been great to recap on the decisions we made and how it was done.
I’m sure we are not the only ones to have a small bathroom. Generally, houses built before the 1940s still had outside toilets – that would certainly make you think twice about that cup of tea before bed! A lot of the houses on this street have converted the third bedroom into a bathroom. We didn’t want to do this as the third bedroom is a home office and was an important consideration for us when buying the house. Never one to shy away from a challenge, we kept the bathroom where it was and started planning on a revamp!
Once we had decided that we were happy to keep the bathroom where it was, we needed to decide what we wanted out of it. Previously the space had not been used to its potential – it felt cramped and forced. The previous owners had decided to install a jet bath which took up the majority of the bathroom. As you can see from the pictures, your feet weren’t far from the bath! We knew that we definitely wanted to have a bath and I really wanted to up-cycle a piece of furniture for the basin to sit on. Challenge accepted!!
Before we could install any of the new we most definitely needed to get rid of the old!
When we moved in I discovered that the lime scale was keeping the shower head in place, so that was soon replaced, the jet bath oozed black gunk (needless to say we only ever showered!!), the tiling was wonky and the tap on the sink was broken. Just one of these on their own may have given reason to renew the bathroom – all of them together made me feel quite desperate!!
I started planning and tried to get all my ideas together so I had clear in my head what I wanted out of the bathroom. Bathstore.com had a really handy feature where you can get an idea of how certain features will work in your bathroom. Unfortunately that feature isn’t available anymore, but I have found a handy planner on B&Q’s website – click here.
Due to space our bath couldn’t be one of the roll top baths that I drooled over, so a shower over the bath was a compromise. We were aiming to stay fairly traditional with our plans – metro tiles around the bath and shower area with wall panelling around the toilet and sink area.
The window is directly opposite the door and is large, so that restricted how we could configure the room and the toilet and sink were to remain in the same place. We did consider moving the door along, but after taking advice this was going to be a bigger job than we wanted! The floor plan was thus set and so we discussed our ideas with our plumber and set to sourcing all the items we needed.
We found a bath that would fit the width of the bathroom, a traditional style toilet and basin. Now we just needed to find a cupboard/set of drawers to up-cycle.
This proved to be harder than I initially thought it would be. I scoured antique warehouses and charity shops in the hope of finding an item of furniture that would fit the depth, height and width that would be perfect for the space we had available. Everything I found was too big! The answer has been in my living room all along – a cupboard that I’d had for years was a perfect fit!
We chose Farrow & Ball Downpipe as the shade for the cupboard that the basin would sit on. I contacted Decorating Centre Online for a colour match of this in a hardwearing eggshell. Their service was excellent and I’ve used them again since.
We had decided on a fairly neutral colour scheme with monochrome flooring. I wanted to be sensitive to the age of our house but also inject some colour and a bit of fun. When doing my research and planning I had seen a picture of a bathroom with pops of yellow and it looked fantastic!
Yellow is such a happy colour, but I can’t have too much of it, so pops would work perfectly. I really wanted the mirror to be colourful but I could only find a white once that matched the dimensions for the space we had above the sink.
Since I couldn’t find the yellow mirror that I liked, I decided to spray paint it myself! I used Rust-Oleum Sun Yellow Gloss Spray Paint and the finish was perfect – a product that was really easy to use with great coverage. I just had to stop myself from spray painting more inanimate objects!!
For the flooring we decided to go for a vinyl floor. We decided that it would be more cost effective considering the size of the room and how much flooring would be needed. I found Avenue Floors online and decided on the Magali design in black and white. I have always loved a monochrome pattern in flooring and I felt quite giddy knowing that I would shortly have one of my own!
The plumber was booked and everything had arrived – now all that was left was to rip the old bathroom suite out and work could begin. As you can imagine, this was a dirty job! This job wasn’t made any easier by rotten floorboards under the bath – we now have a hole above our kitchen sink downstairs as testament to that!! As with most jobs in old houses, it has to get worse before it gets better!
Tips for Renovating A Small Bathroom
- Maximise your space – You can’t have it all. Work out what features are important for you and your family.
- Use an online planner – Once you know what features you would like to include, using an online planning tool can really help you visualise how the space will work for you.
- Storage – The right storage solutions are vital for a small bathroom. I keep A LOT in the cupboard under the basin and I decluttered a lot of what we owned.
- Have fun with the decor – A small space is great for adding colour and pattern, so have fun with it.
It has been said that the bathroom is a good place to start in a renovation as it creates a sanctuary for you. I have definitely found this to be the case! The bathroom has been the springboard to transforming this house into our home and I’m so proud of what we were able to accomplish.
I hope that this has been helpful. If you have any questions, then please ask and I have tried to link all the products and websites above.